Converting Desktops to View Clients

One of my customers asked me to convert some of their physical Windows desktops into dedicated VDI Clients.  A quick google search revealed a VMware Blog post with some basic instructions.  They’re written up for Windows XP, but they work fine for a Windows 7 Client as well.  Basically, you just change the registry on the client machine to run a VBS script that calls a batch file that starts the View Client, instead of starting up the normal Explorer shell in Windows.  It’s a very easy change to make and, while it’s quick and dirty, it does what it’s designed to do.  I use a slightly modified view.cmd file, as seen below.

Rather than just starting an infinite loop that keeps the View Client running, this version will allow a user to actually log off of their client device when the View Client closes.  If not for that change, when they log out of VDI, they’re right back at their desktop selection screen, since the user is still logged in to the client device (which causes some security concerns).  This version also enables USB Auto Connect both on startup and insertion, thus saving my users some small headache.

@echo off
set path=C:\program files\vmware\vmware view\client\bin;%path%
start /w "" wswc.exe -connectUSBOnStartup true -ConnectUSBOninsert true -serverURL <my connection server>
goto View

In case of troubleshooting after this conversion, what do you do?  Simple - you can still minimize your View Client, there's just nothing there with which to interact.  You can still do a ctrl-alt-del though and open up Task Manager.  From there, just go to File -> New Task (Run...) and run whatever local program you need.  If it comes down to it, just start up regedit and change the shell back to explorer.exe, then log out (once again, from the ctrl-alt-del screen) and back in.  In Windows 7 at least, a log out is all that it takes to pick up that change.


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